Cold moments: When weather and sports collide   

Updated: October 28, 2008, 10:58 AM ET

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Patriots Dolphins Snowplow

AP Photo/Mike Kullen

 

3. "The Snowplow Game" -- Miami at New England

Date: Dec. 12, 1982

Weather: Heavy snow, 20 degrees, wind gusts up to 30 mph

What happened: The weather was so bad that notoriously hardy Pats fans stayed home in droves, helping to set an all-time regular-season Schaefer Stadium attendance low of 25,716. Mark Henderson, a convicted burglar operating a sideline snowplow while out on work release, earned absolution for his sins in the minds of New Englanders when he cleared a nice, dry spot in the deep snow for Pats kicker John Smith, who quickly banged home a 33-yarder against the wind with 4:45 remaining for the lone score in the game. How can anyone be sure the snowplow made the difference? Smith, who'd missed an 18-yarder earlier, said "The traction was despicable." Dolphins kicker Uwe von Schamann had also missed a 45-yard chance earlier in the game. Henderson's boffo quip when later asked about the propriety of plowing for the Pats: "What are they gonna do, throw me in jail?"

New York City

AP Photo

 

14. Bobby Riggs vs. Jack Kramer at Madison Square Garden in New York

Date: Dec. 26, 1947

Weather: Blizzard conditions; 25.8 inches of snow fell between 5:25 a.m. and 9:10 p.m. the day of the match.

What happened: Promoter Jack Harris called it "The biggest tennis match in history," as Kramer, who had won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open earlier in the year, made his professional debut against pro champ Bobby Riggs. The weather-related miracle: 15,114 people jammed the Garden despite the fact that outside, snow fell at a record pace, bringing transportation to a halt. It set a record gate, wrote Daily News columnist Gene Ward, because "the intestinal fortitude of the customers out-glittered the actions of the athletes." Kramer lost to Riggs in four sets, and later said, referring to the crowd, "All I could think of was how did they get here?"


--Jeff Merron


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